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The Stern Review and its critics: implications for the theory and practice of costs-benefits analysis

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  • Daniel H. Cole
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    Abstract

    The “Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change” reached conclusions and policy recommendations dramatically different from most of the earlier economic analyses of climate change. It found that the costs of climate change, as well as the potential net benefits of greenhouse gas reductions, were much higher than previously estimated, and consequently recommended more rapid and extensive cuts in emissions than had many other economist analysts. A number of prominent economists have criticized the Stern Review on various grounds, including its damage estimates and the selection of parameter values, which affect the interest rate at which future costs and benefits are discounted to present value. This paper summarizes the Stern Review and its critiques, and assesses them from a process-oriented perspective to determine what they can teach us, positively and negatively, about how benefit-cost analyses should (or should not) be carried out.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Associazione Rossi Doria in its journal QA.

    Volume (Year): (2007)
    Issue (Month): 4 (November)
    Pages:

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    Handle: RePEc:rar:journl:0063

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    Keywords: Cost-Benefit Analysis; Discounting; Discount Rate; Climate Change;

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    1. David Pearce & Ben Groom & Cameron Hepburn & Phoebe Koundouri, 2003. "Valuing the Future," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 4(2), pages 121-141, April.
    2. Mark A. Moore & Anthony E. Boardman & Aidan R. Vining & David L. Weimer & David H. Greenberg, 2004. "“Just give me a number!” Practical values for the social discount rate," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(4), pages 789-812.
    3. Heal, G., 1998. "Valuing the Future: Economic Theory and Sustainability," Papers 98-10, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
    4. W. Kip Viscusi & Joel Huber, 2006. "Hyperbolic Discounting of Public Goods," NBER Working Papers 11935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Ben Groom & Cameron Hepburn & Phoebe Koundouri & David Pearce, 2005. "Declining Discount Rates: The Long and the Short of it," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(4), pages 445-493, December.
    6. Bryan G. Norton & Michael A. Toman, 1997. "Sustainability: Ecological and Economic Perspectives," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(4), pages 553-568.
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